Apple's next AirPods could be controlled with your head movements

AirPods Pro 2 on a mosaic table
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

In a new Patent found by Patently Apple, it seems like the next AirPods could have some innovative new ways of controlling them. One of the keys looks to be a method detailed where users can move their heads up and down to control the volume of the music that is coming out of the AirPods. 

The patent says these new controls could exist because users 'might not have their hands free while listening to AirPods', and so new control methods are necessary. This comes amongst continued rumors that there will be new AirPods sometime next year that cost under $100, although this patent doesn't say what models the new control scheme will come to.

Head moving controls

Patently Apple AirPods head moving volume control

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

The patent details the way in which the new controls will work. The stem is squeezed in the force touch panel, and then the user inclines and declines their head in order to change the volume of their music. In essence, each individual volume increase and decrease is made via the nodding of the head.

So expect to see some nodding AirPods users at some point in the future, as they go to change the volume of their music.

It can also detect the movement of the head from side to side, and while this is currently only looking at volume control, in the future it could well have different head movements for different controls. So you could nod to change the volume, and then turn your head side to side to skip and go back a track.

AirPods controls have always been solid, with the excellent force touch panels on the AirPods Pro, the volume sliders on the AirPods Pro 2, and the excellent physical controls on the AirPods Max. Apple is always looking to innovate, however, and it looks like this latest patent is just the next evolution in the AirPods line.

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.